Interactive Media & Game Development
Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Course Title:

The Game Development Process

Course Number:



A 2012

Meeting Info:

Mon., Tue., Thu., Fri. 10:00-10:50am, Fuller Labs (FL), Room 311


Robert W. Lindeman


gogo at


Fuller Labs, Room B24a



Teaching Assistant:

Jia Wang (wangjia at

Required Texts:

All of the required texts for this class are available as E-TEXTS. They can only be accessed from within the WPI network, so you will either need to be accessing them from on campus, or use the proxy server from off campus.

Read each chapter when it is assigned. The readings discuss much more than can be covered in class, and we will cover things not in the books. There will be in-class quizzes on the readings, and each reading assignment contains practice questions from the reading. You must come to class prepared!

Required Software:

We will be using GameMaker for the projects in this class. GameMaker Pro (version 7) is available campus wide through app-v. Version 7 is being used because materials used in this version can be loaded in both the Windows and Mac versions of GameMaker.

Course Objectives:

This course is one of the three core courses in the IMGD program. These courses are designed to provide you with the essential building blocks for learning how to create successful interactive experiences.

This course will introduce you to the roles of different participants in the game development process, and how technical and artistic development proceed in tandem. Group work is emphasized, especially the importance of collaboration between technical and artistic efforts. You will be expected to participate in group-based game development projects using appropriate tools.

While playing video games has become very popular, actually building them requires the bringing together of various technical and artistic pieces.

There are several objectives for this course:

There are many other elements that must come together to make a successful game. Thankfully, you have four years, and a whole array of IMGD courses, within which to accumulate skills and experience in these areas. Therefore, deep programming, game design and artistic skills will be covered in other courses, and in your IQP and MQP projects.

Therefore, there are some things we won't be stressing in this course. The main ones include deep programming skills, and traditional detailed artistic skills. These and other topics will be covered in other courses, and your projects.

Recommended Background:

There are no formal prerequisites for this course. Some game-playing experience is helpful but not required.

Course Structure:

This course will consist of:

Exams and Quizzes:

There are no midterm or final exams in this course. There are, however, six closed-book quizzes given over the course of the term. Participation in these quizzes is mandatory.

Quizzes will always be administered at the beginning of a class. If you miss a quiz for any reason, you cannot take it later. This is intended to encourageme you to arrive in class on time.

Take these quizzes seriously! Five of the six quizzes will each be worth 5% of your final grade. The lowest quiz grade will be dropped.

If you pay attention in class, complete the reading assignments on time and ask questions, you should have no problem with the quizzes.


Final grades will reflect your performance on projects and quizzes, and your participation in class activities and discussions.

The base level grade will be a B, which indicates that the basic objectives on assignments and participation have been met.

An A grade will indicate significant achievement beyond the basic objectives. Each major assignment will offer suggested ways to exceed minimum requirements.

A grade of C will indicate not all basic objectives were met, but work was satisfactory for credit.

No incomplete grades or makeup assignments will be given unless there exist exceptional, extenuating circumstances.

Assignment weighting is as follows:
25% Six Quizzes (5% each, lowest grade dropped)
5% Intro Assignment
15% Treatment Document/Presentation
10% Asset List
15% First Playable
5% Status Reports
20% Final Prototype
5% Testing & Evaluation

Here are the Final Projects that were produced by this class.


Attendance is required. Missing four or more classes will automatically result in a grade of NR.

If you have an unavoidable need to miss a class, you don't need special permission, but you are responsible for the material covered even if you're not in class.

Do not come to class or meet with your project team if you become ill with flu-like symptoms.

Please email me ASAP if you know you will be unable to attend a class.


Discussion is an important aspect of this class. Your active participation is required. When grading time comes, if I have to stop to wonder whether or not you participated enough, you didn't participate enough. Chronic non-participation will negatively affect your final grade.


The projects for this course consist of a set of game development assignments, designed to supplement the material covered in the lecture with practical experience. Some of the projects build on each other, so it is important that you don't fall behind.

Late Policy:

Projects are due at the specified date and time.
Late projects will be penalized 10% for each 24-hour period after the due date/time. Whether a project is 3 hours or 20 hours late, it will be graded down by 10%. You will be given adequate time to complete each project, if you start when it is assigned. Projects will be turned in electronically, and the date/time received will be used to determine any late penalty. PLEASE do not miss class in order to finish up a project.

Office Hours:

You do not need an appointment to come to office hours; just show up and take your turn. Office hours (the lecturers' and the TA's) are an important way for you to get help or to discuss anything you have on your mind. We are there to help you; that is an important part of our jobs. Please make good use of these hours. You are cheating yourself if you do not. The table at the bottom shows the times of the office hours.

Discussion Boards:

There is a place on the WPI Game Development Club's forums for this course, and you are encouranged to post your questions there, and to look for answers there. In particular, check out the IMGD 1001 "2012 A Term, Lindeman" forum. We will be using this heavily during the course for clarifications, corrections, etc. Please take advantage of this as well.


The Zoo Lab (FL A21) can be used for this course, and GameMaker Pro 7.0 has been installed there, and on all PCs across campus.

Class Conduct:

This class is intended to prepare students interested in a professional career. As such, participants are expected to maintain high standards of courtesy and civility towards their fellow students and instructor.

Academic Honesty:

Individual projects are expected to be done individually. As such, students are encouraged to discuss their work with each other, but are also expected to do the work by themselves.

Any breach of professional ethics as evidenced, for example, by copying exams or projects, downloading code from the Internet, cooperating in more than discussions and study groups, misusing computer resources, or using outside help of any kind, will be considered adequate reason for an NR in the course.

Group projects are designed so that every member gains a significant amount of new material. In the workplace, each team member is expected to contribute. Participants in group projects in this course should keep this in mind, and act accordingly. In evaluating each group, all team members will be asked to distribute a fixed set of "points" to the rest of their team, based on how much each member contributed.

It is to be emphasized that knowledge of material and professional behavior are tied together; failure in one of them negates any excellence in the other. Students who stay in the course past the first three days agree to adhere to the strictest rules of professional behavior.

The official WPI statements on Academic Honesty can be accessed at Those who have any doubt about what that means, and fail to gain that understanding after a discussion with the instructor, are encouraged to drop this class. Remember this warning - any breach of ethics will earn you an NR.


If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you have medical information that you need to share, please make a personal appointment with me as soon as possible.

If you have not already done so, students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class must contact the Disability Service Office (DSO) as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely manner.

The DSO is located in Daniels Hall. Their phone is 508-831-5235.

Course Schedule:

Week Dates Lecture Topics Notes Readings Projects
1 Thu. 08/23 Administration; Intro to the Game Development Process Admin. Slides
RABIN: Sec. 7.2 Project 1 ASSIGNED
Fri. 08/24 Intro to the Game Development Process; Game Industry Roles Process and Industry Roles Slides
RABIN: Sec. 7.2 Project 1 DUE at 11:59pm
2 08/27 (Mon) What is a game? Fun Slides
RABIN: Sec. 7.3, 2.1
08/28 (Tue) Game structure RABIN: Sec. 2.1
08/30 (Thu) The Flow Dev Timeline Slides
RABIN: Sec. 2.1 Treatment Document ASSIGNED
08/31 (Fri) Game Design Documents Game Dev Doc Slides
BATES: Ch. 10
3 09/03 (Mon) NO CLASS -- LABOR DAY!!
09/04 (Tue) Game Design Documents BATES: Ch. 10
09/06 (Thu) Art Content; How Artists Work Brainstorming Slides
RABIN: Sec. 6.1, 6.2
09/07 (Fri) 2D/3D Art Art Pipeline Slides
RABIN: Sec. 6.1, 6.2
4 09/10 (Mon) Treatment Presentations Treatment Document DUE
09/11 (Tue) 3D Art; Art tools RABIN: Sec. 6.1, 6.2
09/13 (Thu) Art Tools RABIN: Sec. 6.1, 6.2
09/14 (Fri) Art Tools Concept Art Slides
5 09/17 (Mon) 2D Art 2D Art Slides
FELDMAN: Ch. 9 Asset List DUE
First Playable ASSIGNED
09/18 (Tue) Gameplay Gameplay Slides
09/20 (Thu) Gameplay
09/21 (Fri) Gameplay FELDMAN: Ch. 9
6 09/24 (Mon) First Playable Presentations First Playable DUE
Status Report 1 ASSIGNED
09/25 (Tue) Level Design Level Design Slides
KOSTER: Ch. 3 & 5
09/27 (Thu) Game Balance Game Balance Slides
KOSTER: Ch. 3 & 5
09/28 (Fri) Game Balance QUIZ 5 (Sorry!!) Status Report 1 DUE
Status Report 2 ASSIGNED
7 10/01 (Mon) Game Balance CRAWFORD: Ch. 7
10/02 (Tue) Programming & AI Programming & AI Slides
10/04 (Thu) Programming & AI Status Report 2 DUE
Polish and Present Your Prototype ASSIGNED
10/05 (Fri) Testing & Evaluation
8 10/08 (Mon) Final Presentations Polish and Present Your Prototype DUE
Testing & Evaluation ASSIGNED
10/09 (Tue) Final Presentations
10/11 (Thu) Testing & Evaluation Testing & Evaluation DUE

Schedule for Office Hours:

Note: All TA office hours will be held in Fuller Labs A21 (The Zoo Lab). Rob Lindeman's office hours will be in his office, Fuller Labs B24a.

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

10:00 IMGD 1001
FL 311
IMGD 1001
FL 311

IMGD 1001
FL 311
IMGD 1001
FL 311



Lab Section #1


Jia's Office Hours Lab Section #2 Jia's Office Hours






Main Web Resources

Possible sources for content you can use in your games:

You have to work in groups for the projects. For some groups, it comes as naturally as a putting on socks before putting on your shoes. For others, it takes effort. You might read (and re-read periodically) some Top 12 Tips for Groups. Go over these as a group!

A list (certainly, not comprehensive) of some of the tools available to help build games:

GameMaker stuff:

Previous Offerings:

In case this inspires you on what (or what not) to do, here are the final games produced by the previous offering of this class:

Other Helpful Readings: